Learn the importance of lockout/tagout procedures and best practices in ensuring employee safety during machinery maintenance or repair. Understand why these processes are essential and how they effectively prevent injuries or fatalities caused by releasing hazardous energy.
Published 12 Jul 2023
A lockout/tagout procedure is a safety protocol used in various industries to ensure the safety of workers during the maintenance or repair of machinery or equipment. It involves locking and tagging the energy sources of the equipment to prevent accidental startup or release of hazardous energy. This procedure helps to protect workers from potential injuries or fatalities caused by unexpected energization or release of stored energy.
Here are some key benefits of implementing lockout/tagout procedures:
Every party involved in the workplace has a responsibility in the lockout program. Below are some of the critical roles and responsibilities:
An organization typically has one lockout program for overall safety. Still, a detailed procedure or work instruction should outline the steps to control hazardous energy for each specific machine or equipment. The written lockout procedure should include the following specifications:
Procedures and work instructions may include visual aids and descriptions of the steps involved for better understanding.
The lockout/tagout procedure should include the following essential steps.
Find the appropriate lockout/tagout procedure for the machine or equipment, and check if it’s stored in a binder or a database where it can be accessed by workers. The process should include specific equipment details and offer step-by-step instructions for safely shutting down and restarting the equipment.
Before commencing any work, conducting a comprehensive review of all procedure components is crucial. It includes identifying the required personnel and equipment for the shutdown and adequately training all participating employees. The training should encompass various aspects of the shutdown, including the following.
All employees who may be affected should be informed about the upcoming maintenance. It should include the date and time of the work, the equipment that will be affected, and the estimated duration of the maintenance.
Ensure they’re aware of alternative processes to use during the maintenance. Additionally, provide the name of the person responsible for the lockout/tagout procedure and the contact information for further inquiries.
Following the directions in the LOTO procedure is essential because many machines and equipment have complex shutdown processes. Ensure that all moving parts, such as flywheels, gears, and spindles, have stopped moving. Verify that all controls are in the off position.
When shutting down equipment or machines, isolating them from all energy sources is essential. You can do this by shutting down all power sources on the machine or equipment and turning off the circuit breakers. Shutting off energy sources includes:
The details of this step will vary for each machine or equipment type, but the LOTO procedure should include information about the energy sources to address. It’s important to neutralize every energy source at the appropriate sources and block movable parts to prevent errors.
Attach the designated lockout/tagout devices to the power sources for each team member involved. Secure the power sources with locks and attach tags as necessary.
Each tag should include specific information, such as the date and time of tagging, the reason for the lockout, and personal information related to the tagger.
Check the following areas for stored or residual energy on the machine or equipment.
Additionally, it’s essential to check for stored energy such as air, gas, steam, or water pressure.
Disconnect all energy sources from the system. Look for any missed sources by visually inspecting the area. Test the equipment to confirm the shutdown, such as pressing buttons, flipping switches, testing gauges, or operating controls. However, ensure that the area is clear of other personnel to avoid interacting with hazards.
After completing the test, return the controls to the off or neutral position. It’ll complete the lockout/tagout procedure for the equipment or machine, allowing you to begin working on the maintenance.
Clear the area of unnecessary items and arrange all operational components properly. All employees must be in safe positions or outside the designated area.
Check that the controls are in a neutral position. Remove the lock and tag devices and turn on the equipment or machine again. As specified in the LOTO procedure, turning on some machines and equipment may be necessary before removing lock devices. After finishing, inform all affected employees that maintenance is complete and the machine or equipment is ready to be used.
When performing Lockout/Tagout procedures, safety should always be the top priority. And SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) makes it easier than ever to complete them safely. This robust platform ensures you follow the necessary guidelines and procedures when performing LOTO procedures to prevent accidents and injuries.
With SafetyCulture, users can do the following.
Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.
What are the Goals of Ergonomics Training? Ergonomics is defined as the study of how humans at work ...
Benefits Big or small, businesses across industries are exposed to a myriad of risks. If unmitigated...
Why It’s Important to Maintain TCS Food Safety An estimated 1.3 billion tons of edible food is ...